Icarus Industries M2 "Ursa" Hover Tanks (Hammer's Slammers):
Hammer's Slammers are one of the most powerful mercenary companies in existence. They are led by Colonel Alois Hammer and are greatly feared. They are among the best-trained and equipped troops in the galaxy, although they are not polished and are sometimes judged by this. Officers are expected to lead from the front. One of the most powerful weapons in the Hammer's Slammers arsenal is their hover tank. Along with the hover tank, Hammer's Slammers operate combat cars, Mobile 200 mm howitzers, air cars, and skimmers for the infantry. Crews often give their combat vehicles unusual names including names like Flame Thrower", "Death dealer", and "Daisy Belle"
The heavy hover tank is built by Icarus Industries, whose main factory is located in Hamburg, Terra. The M2 replaced the earlier M1 hover tank in service although large numbers of the earlier tank are still in service. The tanks are very expensive but are still considered very valuable by those nations and mercenary companies who can afford them. One of these mercenary companies is Hammer's Slammers. The powerful hover tanks are considered by many to have the best combination of armor, speed, and firepower available anywhere.
The tanks are massively armored with a cast iridium alloy hull that is especially resistant to energy weapons. The turret is thickly armored as well. The skirts beneath the hull are well protected and are hard to hit while the tank is in motion. Even though well armored, destruction of a section of the skirt will ground the tank. On the top of the hull are eight armored fan ducts, which are also hard to hit, and the destruction of one duct will not prevent the tank from moving, although it will reduce mobility.
The hover tank hovers only a few centimeters above the ground using surface effects but can reach speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour over paved surfaces and up to 60 kilometer per hour in less ideal conditions. Because of the great weight of the tank (170 metric tons), the hover tank cannot hover over open water. Power is provided by a Westal AE5 fusion power plant located deep within the hull of the hover tank. Because of the incredible weight of the tank, it is very hard to drive and skilled drivers are highly prized.
The normal tank compliment is two, a driver and a commander / gunner. While the crew is small, advanced artificial intelligence makes the vehicle be able to be operated by the two-crew members. The artificial intelligence can control the tank’s various guns and can advice the crew on their best course of action. The driver is seated central at the front of the tank’s hull. The gunner / commander is seated in the turret and has a stowage basket in the rear. Both have their own access hatches. Both the driver and the commander have extensive sensors including Radar, Infra-red Sensors, Ultra-violet Sensors, Light Enhancing Optics, highly sensitive sound amplification systems including ground penetrating sonar, and Neutrino to detect other vehicles powered by reactors. As important as the advanced sensors is that the vehicles operated by Hammer's Slammers have data link systems to allow a virtual free flow of information. The hover tank is also fitted with advanced life support systems although it cannot keep up with the fumes produced by the main cannon rounds for the man manning the turret. The compartments on the hover tank are fairly cramped. Command versions of the tank carry two additional crewmembers; normally this is the battalion commander and a communication officer. The turret is larger in the command version and the tank has a reduced number of rounds for the main cannon to fit the extra crewmembers along with reduced armor on the turret.
The main gun of the tank is a 20 cm powergun with a 3 meter long barrel. The huge cannon is mounted in the turret and has the ability to rotate 360 degrees. Power guns fire cartridges holding copper-cobalt atoms in a polyurethane matrix that are converted into plasma when fired. This plasma travels at the speed of light and while it does not penetrate deeply, it does immense damage. As a result of their incredible speed, the plasma bolts have an extremely flat trajectory. The cannon has a ready magazine of 20 rounds and can be fired once every two seconds but this adds additional wear on the weapon and can damage the gun. A rate of fire of eight rounds per minute can be maintained without serious wear to the barrel. The tank carries 800 rounds total and has an automatic reload system that can keep up with normal fire although it cannot keep up with rapid fire. The cannon effectively has a line of sight range of several hundred miles but is usually severely limited by terrain. The cannon can actually be used to knock out satellites out of orbit. Above the main turret in a cupola is a 2 cm Tri-barrel Powergun. The weapon works by the same principles as the main weapon but is a Gatling type weapon to prevent the barrels from overheating. The tank carries several thousand rounds for the Tri-Barrel power gun. Some crews have added an extra Tri-barrel to the front of the vehicle, which is controlled by the driver. Explosive strips similar to the modern claymore mines protect the hover tank. These strips are activated by the computers artificial intelligence. Finally, the hover tank is fitted with a special mine clearing device which uses a large 12 cm tri-rocket mortar which fires an explosive net up to 500 meters and can cover an area up to 400 meters long and 20 meters wide. The Hover Tank only carries one anti-mine net but usually five hover tanks operate together.
There are several variants on the M2 Hover Tank. The initial version, the M2 was armed with a 15 cm power gun instead of a 20 cm power gun. This weapon is identical to the power gun carried on the M1 tank, which the M2 replaced in production. The M2A1 was the first model that mounted a 20 cm power gun. The M2A2 replaces the main cannon with a 5 cm power gun and eight anti-tank missiles. It was considered experimental and was not produced in large quantities. The M2A3 replaces the 20 cm power gun with a 17 cm ruby wave-guide laser. This version is not operated by Hammer Slammers although it is quite popular with units that prefer lasers. There are plans for a tank destroyer with a fixed 25 cm power gun and the 20 cm howitzer is based on the same chassis.
The newest version of the M2 is the M2A4. Upgrades include the updating of the Artificial Intelligence suit and strengthening the steel plenum chamber with the beryllium and iridium lattice re-enforced materials. This had originally planned for the M2 Ursa tank. The fan units mount a second layer of blades and performance is retained compared to original versions. A second smaller Westal AE7 fusion bottle provides additional power. A new process for polishing the interior of the 20 cm power gun barrel has been developed which increases the life span by fifty percent and extends the barrels tolerance to rapid fire. The ammunition storage for the 20 cm power gun has been reconfigured to protect the crew against an ammunition explosion in case of a hull breach. Due to this and the additional fusion bottle, the number of main power gun rounds has been reduced to 600. Finally the M2A4 version of the Hover Tank is armed with ground penetrating rockets that are fired through the plenum chamber into the ground. These are extremely effective against underground bunkers. There is a version of the M2A4 that has recently entered service. The most likely classification is the M2A4UA (for 'Up Armored') and has additional belt of armor around the turret. This gives the tank a more squat and angular appearance and the armor is a sandwich of ceramic cells and layers of iridium that is designed to disrupt the warheads of incoming missiles and other explosive ordnance.
|Model Type:||M2A1||Standard "Ursa" Heavy Hover Tank|
|M2A4||Upgraded "Ursa" Heavy Hover Tank|
|M2A4UA||Increased Armor "Ursa" Heavy Hover Tank|
Crew: Two (Driver and Gunner / Commander). Command version has an additional two crew members.
|M.D.C. By Location:||M2A1:||M2A4||M2A4UA|
| Weapon Turret:||500 (400)||500 (400)||700 (600)|
|20 cm Heavy Power Gun (In Turret):||150||150||150|
|Cupola (Above Main Turret):||100||100||100|
|2 cm Tri-Barrel Power Gun (In Cupola)||75||75||75|
|12 cm Tri-Rocket Mortar (Front):||150||150||150|
| Fan Ducts (8 - Top of Hull):||200 each||250 each||300 each|
| Armored Skirts:||300||400||400|
|Crew Hatches (2 - Top of Hull and Turret)||150 each||150 each||150 each|
| Main Body:||1200||1200||1400|
 Number in Parenthesis "( )" is M.D.C. value for the command version of the tank.
 These targets are difficult targets to hit and are a -3 to strike. If one Fan duct is destroyed, the top speed of the hover tank is reduced by 25% and the vehicle has a -2 to dodge. If the skirt takes over 50% damage then reduce speed by 25% with a -2 to dodge and if the skirt takes 75% damage then reduce speed by speed by 50% with a -4 to dodge. Destruction of two Fan Ducts or the armored skirt will ground the hover tank. Skirt damage can be temporarily repaired by simply placing a piece of plastic or flexible metal inside of the holes.
 Destruction of the main body will cause the vehicle to crash. All systems will not function. All energy weapon hits on the main body, the turret, or the main cannon are reduced by half due to the refractive properties of the iridium armor.
Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 74.6 mph (120 kph) over paved surfaces / level roads and up to 37.3 mph (60 kph) over level ground and 18.6 mph (30 kph) over rough terrain. The hover tank cannot hover over open water. The hover tank has a maximum hover altitude of 0.32 feet (0.1 meter), but can clear obstacles up to 3 feet (0.9 meter) in height to deal with rough terrain.
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited (Fusion reactor with a 10 year duration)
Height: 9.2 feet (2.8 meters) to top of turret.
Width: 22.8 feet (6.95 meters) for hull
Length: 36.7 feet (11.2 meters) for hull
Weight: Standard: 187.4 tons (170 metric tons) fully loaded. Up-Armored: 198.4 tons (180 metric tons)
Power Source: Westal AE5 fusion power plant (10 year duration)
Cargo Capacity: The hover tank has a small storage space for crew. This includes weapons, armors, and emergency supplies. The crew usually store additional gear and cargo in the turret rack and on the engine deck.
Market Cost: M2A1: 45 million credits. M2A4: 50 million credits M2A4UA: 52 million credits
- Turret Mounted 20 cm Heavy Power Gun: The turret can rotate
360 degrees and the barrel can angle up to 45 degrees. The weapon system
is gyro-stabilized and has an advanced fire control computer. The cannon
fires plasma round at the speed of light using polyurethane cartridges
holding copper-cobalt atoms. The special fire control computer gives a
bonus of +3 to strike. Cannon can be fired extremely rapidly but runs the
risk of damaging the barrel when being fired rapidly. For the cannon in
the M2A2, every round after three which is rapid fired has a 5% (non-cumulative)
of damaging the barrel. For the cannon in the M2A4, every round after five
which is rapid fired has a 3% (non-cumulative) chance of damaging the barrel.
Each time the barrel is damaged, reduce damage by 10% and has a -1 penalty
to hit due to reduced accuracy. The heavy power gun can be controlled by
the gunner or by the tank’s computer (2 rounds per melee / +5 to strike)
Maximum Effective Range: 248.4 miles (400 km), Restricted by the tank’s line of sight, usually less than 12.4 miles (20 km) and often much less.
Mega Damage: 8D6x10+160
Rate of Fire: Normal Rate of Fire is 2 rounds per melee - Can fire 7 rounds per melee but there is a risk of damage to the cannon. (Under Computer Control can fire 2 rounds per minute)
Payload: 20 rounds in ready magazine for all versions. Reload system allows for reloading the ready magazine at 8 rounds per minute. The M2A1 carries an additional 780 rounds with the command version carrying 480 additional rounds. The M2A4 (And M2A4UA) has a reduced ammunition stowage of 580 additional rounds with the command version carrying 280 additional rounds.
Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +3 to strike with the power gun and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when hover tank is moving.
- Cupola Mounted 2 cm Tri-Barrel Power Gun (1): The power gun
is mounted above the main turret and is useful against both infantry and
aircraft. It can rotate up to 360 degrees and can elevate up to 90 degrees.
It works by similar principles as the main gun but rotates between three
barrels to reduce barrel wear. The cannon can be controlled by the gunner
/ commander or can be computer controlled. The cannon is usually computer
controlled when being used in air defense mode (5 shots per melee / +5
to strike) and can shoot down anti-tank missiles such as "Buzz Bombs."
Some crews have also mounted a Tri-Barrel in the bow which is controlled
by the tank’s driver.
Maximum Effective Range: 4.8 miles (8 km)
Mega-Damage: 10 round bursts inflict 3D4x10 (counts as one blast/attack). Single shot inflicts 6D6+4 per round.
Rate of Fire: Equal to Gunners / Commanders Hand to Hand.(Under computer control can fire up to 5 bursts per melee)
Payload: 1,000 rounds in ready magazine with an additional 9,000 rounds in the body of the tank itself.
Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +5 to strike with the power gun and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when hover tank is moving.
- Claymore Type Anti-Personnel Mines (40): Mounted on the sides
of the tank, these charges are designed to protect the tank from attacking
personnel and can also be detonated to protect the tank against attacking
missiles. Ten charges are located on each side of the hover tank. In may
ways, the weapon system should be considered a last ditch system. Basically,
they detonate at the last minute to protect the tank from the missiles.
The system is normally controlled by the computer but can also overridden
by the hover tank’s crew.
Maximum Effective Range: a cone 50 feet (15 meters) long and 30 feet (9 meters) wide.
Mega-Damage: 6D6 for targets 30 feet and further away, 1D4x10 for targets closer than that.
Rate of Fire: One at a time.
Special: Uses the onboard Artificial Intelligence computer to identify friend or foe, and fire the mines. Computer has a skill of 85%.
- Mine Clearing Net Charge: In the bow of the hover tank is
a computer controlled mine clearing device. The system launches three 12
cm rocket mortar rounds which drags an explosive mesh 'net' with a range
of around 500 meters. The net can cover a width of five to twenty meters.
The net will clear a path of around 400 meters deep starting about 100
meters from the front of the tank. The net is detonated which clears a
mine free path in the front of the vehicle. The mine clearing system is
almost completely effective at clearing mines.
Maximum Effective Range: Covers an area from 328 feet (100 meters) in front of the tank to 1640 feet (500 meters) from the tank. Covers a width of 16 feet (5 meters) to 65.6 feet (20 meters)
Mega-Damage / Effects: Inflicts 2D6 to all targets within the blast area of the net. Also has a 90% of clearing all of the mines within the blast area.
Rate of Fire: Single Shot
Payload: One (Must be manually reloaded)
- 12 cm Ground Penetrating Rockets (M2A4 & M2A4UA): The
M2A4 versions of the hover tank mounts ground penetrating rockets which
fire through the plenum chamber into the ground. The weapon is extremely
successful at dealing with underground bunkers. The weapon is guided by
the vehicles sensors and can penetrate through three meters in normal soil
and down to 1.5 meters in rocky ground. The warhead can be set to explode
at a specific depth or can be set to detonate when specific conditions
are met (like when it reaches an open air or a layer of concrete)
Maximum Effective Range: Depths of up to 9.8 feet (3.0 meters) in normal soil / earth and down to 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) in rocky ground.
Mega-Damage / Effects: Inflicts 1D4x10 with a blast radius of 12.8 feet (4.0 meters) with 65% chance of collapsing any bunker effected by the detonation.
Rate of Fire: One at a time.
Payload: Two (2).
The hover tank has all systems standard on a robot vehicle (Radar / UV / IR) plus the following special features::
(Note that all optical systems are distributed over the hull through fiberoptics. There are no viewslits or visible cameras.)
- Ground Penetrating Radar: Mounted in a module on the underside of the tank is a special module. The module uses radar waves to scan the ground to look for abnormalities including underground chambers. Can penetrate up to 65.6 feet (20 meters) into the ground but scans only directly under the unit so requires a long period to scan a large area.
- Sound Amplification: Special Sound Amplifiers that give the crew to be able to hear almost inaudible sounds and recognize specific sounds and voices at 35% + 5% per Level. It also gives +2 to Dodge and +6 to Initiative.
- M.A.D. Gear: This is special equipment that has the ability to detect metal objects under the armored vehicle. Useful for detecting mines and other underground metal objects. M.A.D. stands for Magnetic Anomaly Detector. Can penetrate up to 65.6 feet (20 meters) into the ground but scans only directly under the unit so requires a long period to scan a large area.
- Electrical Field Detectors: Electrical and Electronic equipment all output electrical fields. Even living being output bio-electrical fields. The vehicle has specialized sensors to detect these fields. These sensors are relatively short ranged and living beings are discernable at a reduced range compared to vehicles and other heavy equipment. The sensor has a 70% chance of being able to be able to evaluate what equipment is operating. Range: 5.0 miles (8.0 km) for detecting equipment and 2625 feet (800 meters) for detecting living beings.
- Neutrino Detector: All fusion and fission reactors output neutrinos. The detector uses a specialized magnetic field to capture and focus neutrinos into a sensor designed to detect neutrinos. Neutrinos travel at the speed of light for detection but due the sensors being of fairly short range, this is not a serious factor. The system also eliminates neutrinos from the sun although it is impossible to detect a target if the sun is directly in the sensor as well due to the sun overloading the ability of the system to detect neutrinos. The sensor has a 70% chance of being able to be able to differentiate between fusion and fission reactors. Range: 12.4 miles (20 km)
- Targeting Uplink: This system allows the armored vehicle to upload data to up to 24 other vehicles, aircraft, or ground troops within 50 miles (80 km). Data range can also be extended by the use of satellites. In this capacity, the vehicle can act in the role of forward observer and/or communication/data relay unit. All units receiving this data are +1 on initiative and +1 to dodge.
- Artificial Intelligence: IQ 19, Has general military skill program
and three other skill programs. Used to supplement skills that the crew
do not have and to advise them.
General Military Skill Program: Radio; Basic (98%), Mathematics; Basic (98%), Pilot Hover Craft (98%), Language/ Literacy American, Dutch, Spanish, German, and Chinese (94%), Programmed for common slang & behavior, and huge Database of vehicles.
Espionage, Basic: Intelligence, Detect Ambush, Detect Concealment, Cryptography, and First Aid (80%)
Pilot Related: Navigation, Read Sensory Instruments, Weapon Systems (94%)
Communication: Radio; Scrambler, Laser Communication, Optic Systems, Surveillance Systems, T.V./Video (94%)
Bonuses / Penalties:
- -10% to Piloting Rolls (Due to extreme weight)
-2 to dodge
[ Brodkil TM, Bushido Industries TM, CAF TM, Catyr TM, CCW TM, Consortium of Civilized Worlds TM, Coyles TM, Free Worlds Council TM, Gene Splicers TM, K-Hex TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kreeghor TM, Machine People TM, M.D.C. TM, Mega-Damage TM, Metzla TM, M’Kri Hardware TM, Monro TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Noro TM, Paradise Federation TM, Phase World TM, Psylite TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Seljuks TM, Splugorth TM, Sunaj TM, Trans-Galactic Empire TM, Tri-Galactic Military Service TM, United Worlds Warlock TM, U.W.W. TM, Wolfen TM, and Zembahk TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]
[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]
[ Colonel Alois Hammer TM, Icarus Industries TM, New Friesland TM, and Spyker Motors TM are Trademarked by David Drake. ]
[ Hammer's Slammers is Trademarked and Copyrighted by David Drake. ]
Image is drawn and copyrighted by Talis D. Merrill (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Rifts Conversion Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.